Thursday, 5 August 2010

Judges Behaving Bizarrely As Usual

Two court cases reported recently in the local papers highlighted the fact that the guilty parties' links with the well-heeled and well-connected may have helped them receive lenient sentences because of who they are.

In one court case [Police uproar over light sentence for judge's niece], Amina Mariam Bokhary, 34, who is the niece of Court of Final Appeal judge Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, was convicted of careless driving, failing to take a breath test, and assaulting police (the latter for a third time). Yet magistrate Anthony Yuen Wai-ming put her on probation for a year. She was also fined and banned from driving for a year. Bizarrely, Yuen noted Amina Bokhary's "good background, a well-off family, good education and outstanding academic achievement" ... as if this was influential in his judgment.

In another court case [Businessman's son avoids jail term], Clinton Tong Tsun-tak, 18, who is the son of businessman Carl Tong Ka-wing, vice chairman of listed company eSun Holdings and a director of Crocodile Garments, was convicted of drink-driving, careless driving, driving without a license, taking a conveyance without authority and using a vehicle without third-party insurance.

Magistrate Bina Chainrai sentenced Clinton Tong to 150 hours of community service, along with a fine, and banned from driving for a year. The magistrate also bizarrely noted Tong’s good background and excellent academic results … as if this was influential in his judgment.


Remember, these are two drink-driving cases. And considering the uproar last year about deaths caused by drink-drivers and dangerous drivers—where new enforcement measures and a review of the legislation were implemented—these two drink-driving-related offences have seemingly taken a backward step in the crackdown to drink-driving.

Yet more cases of judges behaving badly bizarrely as usual?


Discrepancies in Reported Facts Between The Standard and South China Morning Post
Did the reporters go to the same court hearings?

The Standard reported:

• Amina Mariam Bokhary to be 33 years old.

• Clinton Tong was fined HK$12,000 (US$1,538).
• Clinton Tong’s family paid the injured taxi driver HK$180,000 (US$23,077) as compensation.


The SCMP reported:

• Amina Mariam Bokhary to be 34 years old.

• Clinton Tong was fined HK$15,000 (US$1,923).
• Clinton Tong’s family paid the injured taxi driver HK$288,000 (US$36,923) as compensation.


Note: Whatever the Tongs' compensation amount to the injured taxi driver was, being Hong Kong it simply had to have “eight” in it. The taxi driver must have been quickly sold by that fact alone.
Don’t accept HK$200,000 ... instead “modestly” seize HK$180,000!
Don’t accept HK$300,000 ... instead “humbly” grab HK$288,000!!



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